Saturday, May 5, 2012

Visit my new site - I've Moved!!!!

I am so excited that the day is finally here!!!! My new blog site is up and running. I'm still working on finalizing some things and getting them just right, but it's officially up now.

Beginning Sunday, May 6th, 2012 I will be posting from my new site only. So please hop on over there and subscribe via email or RSS, follow me on facebook or Google +. I'd really love it if you'd stop by and visit me!!

The new site is:


Sew Its Saturday: DIY Graduation GIfts

It’s May. The time for all things graduation…Proms, final exams, last lunches with high school friends and of course, Graduation!!!

But, what do you get the Graduate, especially, when most of them already have and iPod, iPhone, Wii, Playstaton or any number of other game systems. Well, have no fear…Annette is here! Okay, that was super cheesy, right?! I promise, I won’t let it happen again! Ha!

But, seriously…what do you get them? Well, if you’ve been reading my posts lately, you might realize that I love anything DIY – especially if I can use my digital scrapbooking program from Creative Memories, Storybook Creator Plus 4.0. Check it out here.

Today, I’m going to share with you a few Graduation gifts that you can make yourself on the cheap! Most of these gifts would be great for a High School or College Graduate.

1. Make a picture collage of sorts. I made the above collage/picture for my cousin’s high school graduation several years ago. The background picture has an overlay of grass to give it some texture and stand-out from the other pictures layered on top. I printed it as an 8x10, put it in a nice black frame and Voila – quick, easy, nice graduation gift!

2. If you’d like to do a larger scale gift, you can always make a custom poster collage!! Again, I can use my Creative Memories program to create a custom poster. Or go to our digital center and just plug-in some photos and you’re done!! It’s just that simple – really!!!

3. Have too many pictures for a poster or collage? Make a digital album! Creative Memories offers a variety of styles and sizes. If you’re in a hurry, make the 7x5 softcover album for only $17.95!! If you have more time and want to include graduation and prom photos, choose one of the Personalized Hardcover or Leather Premium Storybooks. What makes this so great is you can download a FREE 30 day trial of the program and use it to make your album! Create, upload, order and have it shipped directly to you!!

4. Want to give your grad something inspirational, make a softcover album filled with Scriptures that will help them, encourage them and guide them in their new journey and life adventure.

5. With Creative Memories you can also create custom calendars! Create a calendar full of personal pictures for your new graduate! They can relive high school or collage memories and have all the important dates right at their fingertips!! I have one hanging on my refrigerator now and I love looking at the pictures each month! Granted, mine isn’t for graduation, but I like it just the same!

6. If your graduate was involved in sports or band, you might consider making a shadow box showcasing what they love. My youngest brother was a member of his high school band (a Nationally renowned band, no less) and it would have been great to make him a shadow box. Take a picture of him marching, their program t-shirt design displayed and a few other memorabilia would have been great!! You can do the same thing for a sport player or drama “nerd” (don’t worry…I was one of those too). Just be creative!!!

7. Several websites offer very custom gifts such as: blankets, pillows, mouse pads, mugs, t-shirts…you name it they have it!! If your grad likes coffee, make them a special mug. If they like to snuggle up on the couch and watch movies – make a blanket! I kinda like the pillowcase idea myself. Wouldn’t it be so fun to wake up with your “best friends” from high school every morning – even if you’re all at a different school?! What fun!

I hope you see where I’m going with these. I love pictures and I think it’s so important to preserve our memories with them. It really is so true that a picture is worth a thousand words! A smile, the lighting and sometimes even the screaming fits just make you remember those precious moments – whatever they are.

So, go out there and find some pictures to create a wonderful gift for that graduate in your life! Believe me…they will look at them and appreciate it!

Happy Graduation Month!!!


Linking up:
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BeDifferent Act Normal

This is my last post on this site. Please come visit me over at In All You Do and subscribe to me there!!!! See ya soon!

Homeschool Happenings: Weekly wrap-up #5ish

This week has pretty much been “all business.” The weather has been getting nicer and warmer around here and its all I can do to keep my kids inside to do anything related to school!! But, we’re doing our best.

He’s still doing well and working hard to finish his papers in the morning (read more about our block schedule here). Most of the time even does them without complaining or arguing!! YAY!!! So, maybe we are making some progress.

This week we’ve actually not done our reading. I’ve been battling a Crohn’s attack and most of my afternoons are spent sleeping from exhaustion. So, we’ve got some make-up work to get in, but we’ll be back at it in no time…I hope.

We’re continuing our study about the Stars this week in Science. Can I just tell you how amazing and AWESOME our God is?! It amazes me how He created such complexity in the universe with just the spoken word!! Oh what I wouldn’t give to have sat next to him when he spoke everything into existence. Talk about AWESOME!! What a Mighty God we serve!

Tomorrow…er rather now, today (Saturday), we plan to set up our new “kid” gardens. I got them on sale for $5 a couple weeks ago. There hasn’t been time to get them planted, but we’re going to make time I’ll be sure to take pictures of us making a mess and having fun though!!

Well, that’s pretty much it. Sorry we’ve been pretty boring around here this week. Hopefully I’ll have more to report next week!

What did you do this week in your homeschooling journey? Feel free to share you favorite experiment, tip, idea or just a word of encouragement for others!!


I’m linking up to these other GREAT Homeschool Weekly Reviews!
Click on the links to check them out!

52 Fridays: Weekly Update #18

Sorry this is up late and that I missed last weeks report. Life has been a little more than crazy around here!! A few weeks back I began having a Crohn’s flair of major proportions. Or at least for me. Please, don’t write me hate mail, I know I’ve been lucky and many people have it much worse than I. I haven’t been on medication in nearly 11 years, so this is pretty major for me. Anyway…my days have been a little less than productive to say the least. So, please bear with me as I trudge through this sickness.

Here goes this week’s report. You can read more about my journey beginning with Week 1. Feel free to join me and Crystal in this journey.

  1. DAILY quiet time: I’ve been doing better at this. Some days I don’t get my emails read, but I have been reading in the Word each day!! It’s been so good and refreshing. I get my emails through and a women’s devotional through Proverbs 31 devotions. Such great tools – be sure to check them out! 
  1. Weekly weight loss: This is not going well at all right now. Mainly because I’m some medication to stop the Crohn’s flair-up I’m having. This medication, prednisone, causes you to retain water and therefore gain weight. Bleh! I’m still watching what I eat, so I’m pretty sure I’ll drop some pounds once I am finished with the medication and it’s out of my system. Until then… 
  1. Vintage Remedies 8 weeks to Real Foods: Still working through the pantry. The Hubster has even gotten into the research and is helping by looking for less expensive but healthy options!! We’re ready to eat better and feel better!! 
  1. Homeschool Fun: We have been playing some games to reinforce what we’re learning in math, but otherwise he just wants to finish his work “now” and go play!! At least we’re not having meltdowns daily, right?! 
  1. Organization: We’re having a garage sale in a couple weeks, so I’ve been going through toys, clothes, misc items in the house. I’m cleaning out more and more and excited to “thin out” what we have. I think this will help me with getting more organized too! 
  1. Staying caught up: Even though I’ve been sick most days over the past 2 weeks, I’ve managed to stay relatively caught up. And, since my wrist is acting up again, I’m very thankful to the Hubster for helping with the dishes several days this week. With his help, we’ve had a clean sink this week!! Not to mention the fact that he cleaned off the counter top for me too!! I’m truly blessed!! 
  1. Blog changes: I’m so VERY excited to announce that my new site will be up and running this Sunday, May 6th, 2012!!!!! If you haven’t stopped by the new site, please take a second to do so! Follow me on Linky Followers, Networked Blogs or by email. “Like” my new facebook page! Help me spread the word about my blog!! I’m so excited for this adventure and journey God has placed in front of me. I hope you’ll join me for the ride!!
What have you been up to this week? How do you find time or make time for God’s Word as a busy Mom?

I love your comments!! They help encourage not only me, but others that read this blog. Feel free to leave a comment and/or a link to a post that will encourage others in their Christian walk too!!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! Have a blessed weekend!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: Adoption Series

When The Hubster and I were engaged, we began talking about children. I know that’s usually something people discuss when they’re dating, but since we didn’t date (that’s for another post) we talked about it while engaged.

We both knew we wanted children and hoped that God would one day bless us with 3 or 4. Read more about why and how our views changed on that here. Nevertheless, we’ve always felt that adoption may someday be an option for us. In other words, it’s never been out of the question.

Even before I was a mother to my own children, I felt like a mother. I have always had a heart and a longing to be someone’s mother. Now, I am so blessed to be mommy to 4 beautiful blessings, but I can’t help but wonder who will take care of those that don’t have a mother.

So, even though we are not on the adoption path right now, it is something that is so near and dear to my heart that I felt compelled to share some amazing stories from some of our “real-life” friends.

So, in May I’m dedicating Thursday Thoughts to an Adoption Series. It will start next week and run the remainder of the month.

I have 3 friends with personal Adoption testimonies from the perspective of becoming a mother and a friend who talks about growing up in an adoptive family. You won’t want to miss any of these testimonies, believe me!

Feel free to grab my button and promote the series on your own blogs!! Help spread the word about Adoption! Don’t forget I’ll be over at my new site next week. So, join me there!!!

 Next week I’ll have the code up with this button on my new website. So, for now, you can just copy the URL of the button to help promote! Thanks!!!


Linking Up:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baking Bits: Getting Healthy – What I’m going to miss

Now this...this I could eat!
 Okay, so I’ve mentioned several times that our family is working towards Whole Foods eating. Yeah…we’re kinda slow around here, but we’re making progress. But, before we talk about all that healthy junk…I wanted to share a tip with you novice cookers/bakers out there. Some of you may already know this one, but I didn’t, so I thought it was worth the share.

When I bake bread, I often find that we eat it well for a couple days and then we’re off of it for a while. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re away from it for too long and it goes bad. A lady at church was talking about how she “stores” her bread so it doesn’t go to waste.

First, slice your bread as you would regularly. Then, she puts butter on each slice of bread and places it on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to set the butter just enough so it doesn’t stick to anything. Now, get your gallon size baggies and put the buttered bread slices in there and freeze! Then, all you have to do is pull out the slices you want and either toast them or bake them in the oven. Add a little garlic powder and voila – you have homemade garlic bread on the fly!

Well…now that I’ve give you that tip, let’s get back to today’s topic: What I’m going to miss on this healthy journey!

1. Bread. Ironic after what I just posted, I know. I love bread of any kind. Rolls, homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, bagels…you name it, I like it! Now, with that said, I do watch how much bread I eat.

2. Chocolate – Strangely I didn’t used to like chocolate. In fact, I did not have a candy bar until I was probably 14 years old! Well…that was a HUGE mistake! Now it’s become a “go-to” comfort food. I will miss it, but I’m glad its gotta go.

3. Pop – I drink water during the day, but at night I like to have some pop/soda. I gave up caffeinated beverages nearly 4 years ago and I always drink diet, but I know I need to give this one up too.

4. Chips & Dip – Another favorite “go-to” comfort food is Potato Chips and French Onion Dip. I don’t eat this too often, but enough that it’s a problem.

5. Sandwiches – I know this kinda goes along with the bread thing, but particularly I will miss those wonderful Ham Sammies! ugh!

6. Soy Sauce  - After reading this article on the Dangers of Soy, I am absolutely convinced we need to give up all soy products. But man oh man do I love it on my steamed rice. Oh wait…I’ll be giving up rice too, so I guess it won’t matter. Well…that was easier than I thought! Haha But, seriously, you need to read the article. Good information and lots to think about.

The truth is pretty much anyone in this country could stand to eat better, exercise more and just be healthier all around. That’s what we’re trying to do. I’m not sure how much weight I’ll lose on this journey, but I’m excited for the possibilities.

A couple of other reasons we’re switching to whole foods/paleo is that I have Crohn’s disease. They discovered it after they removed my gall bladder back when I was 19 years old. I’d had trouble for years, but never knew it was anything medically wrong. I always thought it was just me. Honestly, I’d had those issues as long as I can remember, so in a way – it was normal. It’s been in remission, more or less, for the last 10 years. But, this year (possibly with all the stress and events surrounding our family) I have had more trouble than I’ve had in a long time. It got so bad that about 3 weeks ago they ran some blood tests that revealed I was indeed having a “flair up” of my Crohn’s. bleh!!!!! So, now for the first time in my marriage and in nearly 11 years I’m on medication for Crohn’s. So, I decided that if eating healthier could help curb some of the symptoms, if not take it away completely, it was worth a real try.

The other reason we’re making the switch is our children. Although we have no official diagnosis, we see evidence of ADD/ADHD and Aspergers in our oldest child. I probably notice these things more since we homeschool. But, nevertheless, research shows that removing gluten and other key foods can help those kids with ADD/ADHD and Aspergers. So, we’re gonna give it a whirl.

I know all these things take time to show real change. So we’re working towards cleaning out the pantry and fridge. As we’re cleaning, we’re making better choices for our meals and slowly integrating whole foods. Hopefully, by the end of May we’ll be completely eating whole foods only. That’s the plan anyway.

Then, everything I’ve read says to give it a month and see how you feel after that. So, that’s the plan.

Do any of you follow the Paleo eating plan or eat whole foods? What are your thoughts and tips for making the switch? How has it changed your life?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your tips and getting healthy journey! Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts or leave a link to your own post about getting healthy!!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teachable Tuesdays: Homeschool Series Part 3 - Why Block Scheduling Works for Us

When we started our homeschooling journey a couple years ago, we pretty much did papers everyday. Not many, because he was in Kindergarten, but we had some paperwork every day. While working on writing it was very important to me that he did it daily. Now that we’re past some of that we’ve revised our schedule.

Another reason we block schedule is that my son hates despises …er loathes paperwork. I mean with a passion!! It was fit throwing, meltdown city and drama every. single. day. Seriously! So, it got me thinking…maybe we should try to do a block schedule of sorts and see if that helps.

So, here’s how we structure our Block Schedule.

Monday, Wednesday & Friday – Reading. All kinds of reading. That means reading from our text books (Science, History & Bible), reading on his own, read-alouds – anything that pertains to reading, we do on these days. This can take us anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on his cooperation and what we’re discussing that day. Some days he has a lot to add and talk about and some days he doesn’t. I usually let him dictate that aspect of his schooling.

Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday – Paperwork. This includes Spelling, Handwriting, Geography and Math. He usually has no more than 6 papers on these days. Then, we’ll play some fun, educational games to reinforce one of these subjects. Sometimes we even do flash cards, which he actually likes! So, it’s not all easy-peasy.

Now, you may be wondering why we do school on Saturdays. Well, right now we’re playing catch-up on our school days. We normally take most of December off and then with my Dad’s illness and death it pretty much shot January and most of February. Under normal circumstances we do not school on Saturdays.

However…with the crazy work schedule The Hubster has we might think about keeping it this way. The Hubster gets off work at 7am Wednesday morning (he works overnights, Fri-Tue) and doesn’t return to work until Friday night. So, other than his sleep on Wednesday, we see him most of those two days. We usually take “field trips” on Thursdays when Daddy is with us.

I’m toying with the idea of taking all Thursdays off next school year (which begins in June) and having those free for Daddy-days, yard work, field trips, etc. And, if we do that, we’ll probably do some paperwork on Saturdays. It’s not much work to do and it does help keep him on a routine, which seems to work well for him and truth be told…me too!

Trying to read several pages a day in Science, History and Bible plus doing all the paperwork was just overload for him. And honestly, by the time we finished with all the drama and meltdowns it was a rush to try and finish his work.

Another reason I like our Block Scheduling is because it frees up more time for me to devote to the Middles for their school time. Come back next week to see how I plan to transition from schooling only 1 kiddo to 3!!!!

What tips do you have for homeschooling a wide range of ages? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below or leave a link to your post where you share tips and ideas on homeschooling!!

My new blog site is up and semi-running, just working out some technicalities. It will officially become my only site on Sunday, May 6th. So be sure to visit me over there this week and subscribe via email, "Like" my facebook page and just browse around. I will double post here and there this week just to give everyone a chance to transition over! Thanks for your support!!! And let me know what you think of the new site! See ya over there!!

Linking up to these wonderful parties:

Monday, April 30, 2012

Maid for Mondays: We’re Finally on the Cloth Diaper Adventure

Well, I guess its never too late to get started, right?! I really wanted to start with our third child, but it just never happened. Then, I was determined to start after our fourth child was over the whole meconium nastiness. But, again…it just never happened. And for several really good reasons, money being the biggest. And, the increased laundry being another.

So, we settled into disposable diapers – again. Granted there are perks to using disposable diapers: quick change on-the-go, no wet bag to carry around, the mess folds up inside of itself and throws away, no extra laundry…

I must say, those perks are what kept me buying disposable diapers for the past 3 years!! They were quick and easy. I was honestly scared to death of cloth diapers. As a teenager I babysat for a family that used cloth diapers. You know the old pre-folds that went into that icky plastic liner? They were confusing, nasty and I could never see myself using those!

Then, I started seeing many of my friends posting about their cloth diapers on facebook and raving about them. So, I decided I should check them out. No harm in checking, right? Oh. My. Word. Can I just tell you how overwhelming it was to see all the options now available? I immediately closed the browser and walked away. I forgot about them for quite a while simply because of all the new styles, types, options – it was too much!

Finally, I got up the nerve to try again. This time I employed The Hubster to help out so it wouldn’t be too overwhelming. He actually got quite into the research and did a lot of the reading. In fact, he was the one that found the type of diaper he thought would fit us well. What a relief!

Then came the issue of cost. We would have to save for months in order to be able to afford anything. We didn’t have the extra cash lying around to just up and buy a supply of cloth diapers. I mean, we’re talking close to $200 or more, at least! So, I began looking into the online resale shops and watching for ones I wanted. But, that was taking a long time and I was getting impatient. Actually, I thought the longer I waited, the less likely I would be to actually start using them.

Our Charlie Banana girl diapers - aren't they so cute?!
Then, about a month ago I saw a cloth diapering system at Target and fell in love with them!!! They were very similar to the style we’d decided on using and they were reasonably priced too!! But, still the money was not there. I knew going to cloth diapers would save us a ton of money each month (approx $150). So, I began to pray and ask God to provide. And, He did!!! (Duh, right?!) We were blessed with a set of 6 cloth diapers and 12 inserts from Target!!! They are the one-size Charlie Banana brand, and I love them!! I love how we can adjust the leg size to fit whomever wears them!!

My oldest daughter wearing her Fuzzibunz
Oh wait…it gets even better! I found some Fuzzi-bunz cloth diapers at a garage sale one weekend and snatched them suckers up in a hurry! They were $5/set, which included the cover and two inserts!!! I got 6 covers total and 12 inserts for a whopping $30!!!! WA-HOO!!!!

I was so excited that I just stared at them for days – literally! Well, that and I didn’t know how to wash them just yet. So, I employed The Hubster yet again to do some research for me. I really wanted a homemade mix that we could do ourselves, rather than spending tons of money on one that had to be shipped.

After some research and lots of reading, we finally found one we were comfortable with and pleased with the ratings. And, so it’s begun…

So, here are some things I’ve learned along this crazy journey. I hope they are helpful to some of you out there too!

1. Do your research! Start early so you don’t get overwhelmed and read, read, read. Read anything you can about the diapers you’re interested in; reviews, facebook pages, blogs, whatever you can find.

2. If you have a friend that uses cloth diapers, I highly recommend having a Q&A with them! I had a friend bring over some of the diapers she uses and we talked about why she uses this one at night and why she likes this one during the winter, etc. Seeing them in person made it less overwhelming and I was able to see which type I might like to try.

3. If your husband is on-board with this adventure, which I also highly recommend he be 100%, ask his opinion. You want him to feel just as comfortable changing the diapers as you are!! If they intimidate him, he might be less likely to help…and we sure don’t want to give them another excuse to get out of diaper duty! Haha

4. If you’re still not completely sure which diapers to go with, there are quite a few diaper re-sale shops online that you can find some on the cheap(er) and try them out. Buy a couple of different brands to try and just do some “testing” on your “subject.” Then, when you find the one you want you know you’ll love it and won’t feel as apprehensive!!

5. Don’t forget…just because the diapers come with inserts doesn’t mean you can’t use pre-folds with them too!!! It’s a GREAT inexpensive way to add more “diapers” to your stash! Plus, they’re great as a double-up layer!! Win-Win!!!

Here is the detergent recipe we decided to use. After much research, the Hubster decided that using Baking Soda was much safer than using the Borax. So, that’s why we chose this one over some of the others. And so far, so good. We mix up a small batch and put it in an old sour cream container and just use about ½ a scoop per load. You also want to make sure you follow the instructions for washing your particular brand of diaper/insert. Some of them vary. We wash our soiled ones in a cold wash/rinse first with no detergent and then add the others and run a regular hot wash with the detergent. Our hot wash has a cold rinse, which is what most of them want. So, if yours doesn’t you’ll need to run it through a cold rinse cycle again before drying them. And, don’t use a dryer sheet!!

But, you need to do your own research and decide for yourself. You may a friend who’s used borax on all her cloth diapers over the past 5 years and they’re still great. Then, go with it!

The point is…don’t get overwhelmed by all the research out there. Read what you can (want) and then ask questions, that’s where you’ll really get the answers you want.

Well, I hope that helps you!


My new blog site is up and semi-running. We're still working out all the technicalities. It will officially become my only site on Sunday. So be sure to visit me over there this week and subscribe via email, "Like" my facebook page and just browse around. I will double post here and there this week just to give everyone a chance to transition over! Thanks for your support!!! And let me know what you think of the new site!

Linking up here:

Monday Meals: Weekly Meal Plan

Okay, so yesterday (Sunday), we fully intended to have Bacon-Tuna Casserole (a concoction I put together combining two recipes). We had it ready to go in the slow cooker and everything! The Hubster got nervous that the noodles were going to burn (he’d left it on high), so he came home real quick to check it out. And, it’s a good thing he did! The noodles weren’t burned…they weren’t even on!! Ahhh…the joys of a busy Sunday morning! So, he turned it on then and I let it cook into the early afternoon and put it in the fridge for another day this week.

I’m continuing to make headway on clearing out our pantry for our transition to Real Food cooking!!! So, here’s what we’re eating this week!

Monday 4/30
Breakfast: Cold cereal
            Lunch: Grilled Turkey and Cheese
            Dinner: Frito Chili Pie or Spaghetti Red (I use the same sauce for both, so they can choose either chips or noodles!)
Tuesday 5/1
            Breakfast: Poptarts
            Lunch: HomemadePizza Pockets
            Dinner: Bacon-Tuna Casserole, green beans, homemade bread
Wednesday 5/2
            Breakfast: Homemade Pancakes, Sausage
            Lunch: Chicken Nuggets
            Dinner:  CheeseburgerMac & Cheese
Thursday 5/3
            Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs w/ bacon & cheese
Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas, grilled chicken fajitas
Dinner: Leftovers
Friday 4/27
            Breakfast: Homemade Poptarts
            Lunch: Leftover Cheeseburger Mac
            Dinner: Homemade Chicken Nuggets, homemade fries
Saturday 4/28
            Breakfast: Homemade Donuts
            Lunch: Fishsticks
            Dinner: HamTettrizini, green beans, garlic bread
Sunday 4/29
            Breakfast: Baked French Toast
            Lunch: TurkeyStroganoff, green beans, homemade bread
Dinner: Chicken Nuggets

NOTE: The lunch menu items usually pertains to my kiddos. I tend to eat leftovers to help purge and clean out the fridge.

Feel free to share your meal ideas here or link up to your own meal plan post!


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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sew Its Saturday: 10 DIY Mother's Day Gifts She's Sure to Love

Can you believe Mother’s Day is coming up in just 3 short weeks?? I can’t believe it’s almost May, let alone Mother’s Day!! And, if you’re like me, you have thought of a million and one different gifts to give your sweet momma. Yet you have nothing to give her!

Yep…I always have great intentions and lofty goals of these wonderfully elaborate gifts that don’t ever seem to come to fruition. So, this year I’m starting a little early…okay, earlier than I usually do anyway!

I am a big believer in homemade gifts for those we love; especially parents and grandparents. If you’re like me, you have enough knick-knacks around and you don’t want anything else to dust! And the time and care that goes into those homemade gifts is just priceless!!

Mom’s love their “job” but at the end of the day, let’s face it…it’s nice to be pampered. 

So, here are 10 DIY Mother’s Day gifts that do just that – show her how much you love and appreciate her!

1. Mini Scrapbook Album – I made these a few years back for the grandma’s and great-grandma’s in our family. They were a huge hit! Some of them even carried them around for months to show off their precious heirlooms!! Mine were paper album kits from Creative Memories, much like this one for Mom or this one for Grandma. Add a few fun photos of your sweet kiddos, some sentimental words (or funny ones if you like) and presto…you’re done!

2.  Handprint/Footprint canvas – I actually made these for Christmas for all the grandparents and greats. But, you could change it up a bit and do handprints as flowers for a bouquet for Mom or footprints as butterflies. Or come up with a design all your own! Let the kids help and who knows what you’ll come up with! Be creative and mom’s sure to love it!!

3.  Homemade Sugar Scrubs and Bath Salts – Purchase this ebook and make Mom some homemade sugar scrubs!! Purchase an extra copy and give the recipes to her so she can make her own! Or use this simple and quick recipe to make Mom some scented bath salts.

4. Homemade Lip Balm – Now, I’m not one to wear lipstick, but I love my chapstick. But, I would love to have some homemade lip balm!! This blog gives 3 recipes (Mandarin Nutmeg, Peppermint Cocoa & Lime Coconut) but at the end it gives some tips on creating your own recipes!

5. Photo Cubes – Another quick and easy gift for Mom or Grandma. This blog post gives great instructions on how to create your own Photo Cubes. Use scrapbook paper to back smaller photographs or just to dress it up a bit! Get creative and just go for it!

6. Photo Tile – I saw this tile sometime last year and knew I could make those for the grandparents and greats for Christmas. But, it would also work for Mother’s Day!! Take the kids out for a fun afternoon (or morning, when its cooler) of candid picture taking and make some tiles for Mother’s Day! Dress it up with some scrapbook paper and a few 3D embellishments and you’ll be set!

7.  Homemade Glass Pendants – I made some of these for the girls in my family this past Christmas. These two blogs (here and here) have some great ideas on different pendant ideas. They are super easy to make and most craft stores will have what you need!! Again, take the kids out for some candid pictures, pick our your favorite and you’re ready!

8. Sweet Hanging SachetsSew 4 Home has a great tutorial on how to make these uber cute hanging sachets!! Hang it on a decorative hanger and you’re good to go!!

9. DIY Painted Canvas Tote – Ashley is so talented and she’s done it again! She has a super easy to follow tutorial on how she created this divine tote. You could paint her favorite flowers in her favorite color or…put the kids’ handprints on it for a more personal touch that she’s sure to love! Slip in a couple books she likes or a “chick-flick” she’s had her eye on. Or better yet…get her a gift certificate for a pedicure, massage or another special “treat”!!!

 My inspiration for the Mom’s Day OFF Jar

10. Mom’s Day OFF Jar –Give Mom a “day off” by pulling out a slip of paper and doing what it says. Have the kids help decorate the jar on the outside and then put paper flowers, colored by the kids, attach them to pipe cleaners and you’ve got a homemade kid-bouquet! You’ll have to forgive me for not having one of these to show you. (I’m secretly hoping the Hubster will give me one of these this year!) Feel free to download, print and use my Free Printable here. To use my printable, cut the Mom’s Day OFF button out and adhere to a jar/can with Mod Podge. Then, cut apart the strips of chores and fold them in half and stick them in the jar/can. I also left some blank strips so you can fill in your own ideas. Add your own homemade flowers and voila…Mom gets a “Day OFF” and a bouquet from her favorite little people!

Hope that gives you some quick and easy ideas for Mother’s Day. There are certainly many more ideas out there these were just some of my favorites!

What’s your favorite Mother’s Day gift?? How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments or leave a link to your own post! I love reading them and its keeps my creative juices flowing!!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teachable Tuesdays: Homeschool Curriculum Choices - Part 2: Preschool

Please ignore the mess in the background.
Here is a rare picture of all 3 kids at the table for school-time!

Our third official year of homeschooling begins June 4th. But, this year will be much different than the previous two years. This year I will not only school our oldest (2nd grade), but also our two Middles (ages 3 & 2). WOW!!! Can I tell you how nervous I am? Yet I’m also so excited to see them learn and grow!! I didn’t get to school our oldest at this young age, so I’m bursting with excitement, joy, and overwhelming anxiety all at the same time!

Anxiety you ask? Yep! I have it all planned out on paper and even a rough schedule outlined so we can mostly stay on task. This year will really stretch me, because I am an on-time, task oriented, Type A personality and well…that doesn’t compute with my Middles. So, it should be interesting, fun and a wonderful year of learning for everyone!

I wanted to share with you our preschool curriculum choices for our upcoming school year. The links I am providing in no way give me commission or any compensation. It’s merely to give you a reference. I did not necessarily purchase my products from the site I link to. I researched and found the least expensive option and ordered/bought from there. I’ll share more about that at the end of this post, so stay tuned!!! Next week I’ll share how we structure our school days.

Okay, so our choices for Preschool are obviously less than those for our 2nd grader. But, somehow that makes this task much more daunting! Nevertheless, I have finally decided on the following choices.

BrainyBaby Series: Last year my grandmother bought the entire Brainy Baby system for about a quarter of the original price!! And I plan to use every last bit of it with my Middles! We will use it to introduce our shapes, colors, numbers, letters and music this year. I also have Spanish, Sign Language and Art, but that will have to wait another year or so. I’m not that ambitious!!

ABeka: I will use this curriculum for our Numbers and Letters. We will do one Number per month and one Letter per week for Mister Mouse. Miss Priss will probably just color along and get some of it, but I don’t expect her to get it all. She just turned two, so it could get interesting! But, I do want her to know her numbers for sure, so that’s what we’ll mainly focus on this year with her.

I will also use the A Beka curriculum for most of our Arts and Crafts projects. They have some fun, creative and easy ideas that I’d like to take advantage of.

Bible: I don’t have a particular curriculum to use in this area. I like to read the Bible stories to them and find pictures they can color or activities we can do to reinforce what God’s word says. We will do this Bible reading time with Mister Bull as part of our Family Bible time during our school day.

As most Homeschooling Mom’s will tell you, it is so wonderful to be able to find and print so many FREE and wonderful papers online now!! I use these papers as fillers and supplementals to our other curriculum.

Here are a few of my favorite spots to find them:
SchoolExpress (over 17,000 FREE printables in a variety of subjects)
Kidszone (easy to find, sorted by grade or topic)
BiblePrintables (some great printables on this site. Easy to find too!)
All Kids Network (a fabulous resource for crafts, worksheets & activities!)

Some blogs I subscribe to also have stores where they offer their own curriculum. I’ve been very pleased with the ones I’ve purchased from:
(be sure and check out her Freebies tab too!)

So, that’s our curriculum for Preschool! What’s your favorite Preschool curriculum? I would love to hear what you are using or have used in the past. Or do you just do your own thing?

Now, I promised you I would fill you in on all my curriculum deals. Honestly, it takes quite a bit of effort to find the best deals, but believe me…it pays off!!! Here’s where I search for my deals.
(a subsidiary of Ebay)
Individual Manufacturers (A Beka, RightStart)
Mardel - Yes, the Christian book store!! They have 2 semi-annual Homeschool/Education Sales and I watch for others throughout the year! In fact, I got our Apologia curriculum 30% off this year!!! YAY!!
Bibliomania (a local Homeschool re-sale/consignment shop. I don’t find too much here for what I need, but sometimes my teacher’s manuals and our A Beka readers for cheap!)

So, there ya have it!! I take several weeks usually to search out the above websites and stores and factor in upcoming sales, coupons, discounts, shipping, etc. before making my final orders. Like I said, it can be a lengthy process, but it’s well worth it for the money I save!

Feel free to share in the comments or leave a link back to your own post!! I love reading all your tips and ideas! I am always open to researching for new curriculum to see if it would work for us! We learn by sharing!! Thanks for stopping by!


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